Ben (Tom Stocks) is an introvert and a chef in a local pub kitchen where he grew up. His mate and colleague Ryan (joseph Lindoe) is an extrovert and considerably more successful with women and his general attitude to life.
Throughout Netflix and Chill we hear Ben’s inner monologue being significantly more articulate than he manages externally. From his disastrous reunion with his estranged Mum (Julie Binyish) to his sweet but ultimately doomed romance with old friend Sophie (Emily Ellis) we hear Ben critique himself and those around him as well as self-sabotage with his insecurity and indecision. We watch Ben self destruct with ultimately tragic consequences.
Male insecurity is a really important topic. The combination of some of the more toxic elements of lad culture with the loneliness that comes from being alone and unable to reach out. Party due to that very culture. Netflix and Chill combines a sweetness of attitude with a sense of trying to uncover where sweetness is missing that is appealing.
The play itself doesn’t feel quite finished. Some of the dialogue felt a bit rushed or cliched and there are times when Ben’s internal dialogue does too much of the work for the other characters. You can see his journey, but the motivations of those around him are less clear.
As we have a national conversation about suicide this play seems like a really good first step. I would be interested to see it develop and deepen over time. There is definitely enough there for it to do so.
Netflix and Chill is on until 29 February https://www.thedraytonarmstheatre.co.uk/netflix-and-chill